Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 12th

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - When future astronaut John Glenn nestled in his bed, it may not have been sugar plums that danced in his head, but celestial bodies.

A recently discovered child's pillowcase that belonged to the late U.S. senator and space hero depicts revolving planets, stars and a view to outer space. At the center, a koala bear clings to some sort of spacecraft, labeled "John" in blue embroidered cursive.

Glenn grew up to become the first American to orbit the Earth.

Adam Sackowitz, a graduate student from Queens, New York, purchased the pillowcase March 8 for $2,500 at an estate sale of Glenn's possessions. An authentication certificate says it belonged to Glenn during his childhood, which was in the 1920s and early 1930s. The Ohio native died in 2016 at age 95.

Sackowitz joined the crowds of people who lined up for the estate sale in Potomac, Maryland, for the chance to buy mementos from Glenn's life. Karen Jones, of Greater Washington Estate Services, said the event was organized by Glenn's children. The pillowcase was among a roomful of items they identified as belonging to their father.

Sackowitz said he stretched his budget to buy the pillowcase because the embroidered image seemed to predict Glenn's future career.

"This pillowcase seemed to foretell John Glenn's future as an astronaut," Sackowitz said. "I really wanted to buy it and see it preserved for history."

He hopes to donate the item for display in Glenn's birthplace of Cambridge, Ohio, which got its first-ever historic marker commemorating its famous son in November. Glenn's celestial bedding could also go to the John & Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord, Ohio, Sackowitz said. That's where Glenn and his widow spent their childhoods.


TUCKER, Ga. (AP) - Several horses traveled down a highway in Georgia and motorist had to hold their horses.

News outlets report that a total of 10 horses decided to take to the streets and ended up blocking traffic on Highway 78 near North DeKalb Mall on Saturday morning.

Motorists came to a standstill as police blocked off traffic to ensure the safety of the motorists and the horses.

Police were on the scene at 9 a.m. trying to contain them, and all lanes were open by 9:30 a.m.

Little Creek Horse Farm confirmed in a Saturday Facebook post that it was their horses that decided to take a trip on the highway. The post says steps will immediately be taken to assure this doesn't happen again.



MENIFEE, California (AP) - A business owner says thieves smashed a window of a Southern California pet store and made off with six birds worth thousands of dollars.

Birds-N-Paradise co-owner Erik Schreiner tells the Press-Enterprise newspaper in Riverside that surveillance footage shows at least one shadowy figure stealing the birds early Friday.

He says the thieves took three Patagonian conures worth $950 each; a caique parrot worth $1,400; a rose-breasted cockatoo worth $2,200; and a yellow nape Amazon parrot worth $2,500.

Schreiner believes the theft at his shop in the city of Menifee is tied to other recent bird heists in the region. Thefts have occurred at a bird farm in Redlands and an exotic bird store in Cypress in the past few weeks.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department says it's not clear if the crimes are linked.


A judge in Oregon used a bench as a battering ram to break free from a locked courtroom, causing about $3,000 in damage, a report said.

Judge Susie Norby offered to pay for the damage out of her own pocket, but a Clackamas County spokesman said the funds will come from the county's general fund, meaning taxpayers will foot the bill, the Oregonian reported.

Norby said her offer was turned down because county officials regarded the cost as negligible, the newspaper reported.

"I feel deeply sad to have caused harm to our beautiful and historic building," Norby told the newspaper. "It is a building I cherish, respect and am proud and grateful to work in."

Repair work in the Oregon City courtroom will include reinstalling marble on the framing above the courtroom doors, the report said.

Norby said she locked herself in the courtroom March 4, a Sunday, and tried to ram her way out because her keys and phone were elsewhere, and no one was expected at the building until the following day. She was stuck in the courtroom for more than an hour before a sheriff's deputy came by and sprung her.


There are fried pickles, pickle-flavored chips and other options for all the pickle lovers out there. But soon there'll also be a pickle-flavored slush, thanks to Sonic.

The drive-in chain announced Friday it will soon serve a pickle juice slush, likely beginning in early June.

"Quite simply, pickle juice is fun," Scott Uehlein, Sonic's vice president of product innovation and development, told TODAY Food via email. "Nothing says summer like a Sonic slush."

According to Food & Wine, which got a sneak preview taste test of the new slush at Sonic's Oklahoma City headquarters, the treat's syrup has a "sweet and tangy" punch to it.

Customers will also be able to add pickle juice to any drink.


(Huffington Post) As far as fake documentation goes, it certainly needed some more work.

An unidentified driver in Milton Keynes, southern England, presented a spoof Homer Simpson license to police during a traffic stop last Sunday night.

In addition to the bogus "Simpsons" identity document, officers also discovered that the man was driving without insurance.

"The driver's car was seized and he was reported for driving with no insurance and driving without a proper license," Thames Valley Police said on Twitter.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A Sacramento animal shelter is seeking supplies and cash donations to care for nearly 300 rabbits taken from a single property.

KTXL-TV reports the bunnies are of varying ages and not available for adoption because they are part of an investigation.

Folsom Police Department Det. Donald Rowberry says officers were responding to a separate call when they looked over a fence and spotted about 100 rabbits. The officers called for backup and found many more bunnies hopping in unsanitary living conditions.

Folsom city code allows only two rabbits per home. The Sacramento SPCA received 286 from the home on Friday.

The shelter needs small litter boxes, small ceramic bowls and bunny water bottles, among other items.

The group is calling for rabbit-related help through social media with the hashtag #bunoverload2018.



March 19 (UPI) -- A voter in a Russian city turned heads when he showed up to the polls dressed in a bear costume -- and found himself unable to fit inside a booth.

Video captured in Severobaykalsk, Buryatia, during Sunday's presidential election shows a voter in a brown bear costume receiving a ballot and walking to a voting booth, where he discovers he is too large to fit inside.

Witnesses at the polling place said the man was able to coast his ballot despite being too big for the booth.

Locals said the same polling station had earlier been visited by voters dressed as a panda and a yeti.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Firefighters in Colorado plucked eight animals they thought were puppies from a storm drain, only to find out later they were young red foxes.  

Video of the would-be rescue showed a Colorado Springs firefighter lifting the squirming foxes one by one from the storm drain and placing them on a sheet.

The animals were then turned over to The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, where a vet determined they were not dogs but foxes.

State wildlife manager Travis Sauder told CBS4 it's not uncommon for people to come across young wild animals at this time of year.

Sauder says the baby foxes would be returned to where they were found in hopes their mother was still around. If not, he says they'll be taken to a rehabilitation facility.


March 19 (UPI) -- Police in Houston said officers raided a supposed Zumba dance studio in the city and seized dozens of illegal gambling machines.

The Harris County Constabulary Precinct 5 said in a Facebook post that members of the Major Officers Unit raided the illegal game room in a strip mall in Southwest Houston on Wednesday night.

The facility "was masquerading as a Zumba Dance room," investigators said, "but inside were only illegal electronic gaming devices."

Officers arrested an attendant seized more than 40 motherboards from the illegal machines, as well as thousands of dollars in cash.

The constabulary quipped there is "no dancing around gambling laws in Precinct 5."

"Game rooms are not just illegal in Texas," the Facebook post said. "They and their customers are often targets for other types of crime due to large amounts of cash on hand and patrons who are often elderly. Operators of these establishments are often reluctant to report crimes to the proper authorities due to the illegal nature of their businesses."


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